Comfort Women, Jan Banning. Hotshoe Oct/Nov 2010

 This article in Hotshoe really moved me, and is portrait photography at its best.Informative and intimate head and shoulder portraits all taken against a plain grey background. The images  by Jan Banning  show female survivors of  abuse by soldiers of the Japanese imperial army during World War 2. Their direct eye contact is quite startling, the eyes draw you into the image. Each portrait has fascinating detail, the skin textures and wrinkles tell of the ravages of time. Looking at these images initially it is hard to imagine them as beautiful young   girls, but traces of that beauty are still there because of the dignity that they display. They stare out towards the world telling their dreadful stories without words: they have survived but the suffering and humiliation they endured is clear in their eyes. Even without the accompanying text these images talk.


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